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BusinessWeek is getting hipper. With their cover stories on blogging, and now this week’s lead story on mass collaboration, they’re doing for mainstream business what Fast Company used to do for the world in the glory days before the 2000 dot.bomb.
Key quotes from the Businessweek article:
“New research indicates that cooperation, often organized from the bottom up, plays a much greater role than we thought in everything from natural phenomena like ant colonies to human institutions such as markets and cities. It’s what New Yorker writer James Surowiecki, in his illuminating 2004 book of the same name, calls “the wisdom of crowds.” Crowds can go mad, of course, but by and large, it turns out, they’re smarter at solving many problems than even the brightest individuals.”
“For all the benefits, Net-based cooperation holds plenty of peril for the unwary. Obviously, not all crowds are wise. Even The Wisdom of Crowds author Surowiecki wonders if the Net connects like-minded people so well that it can amplify groupthink. “The more we talk to each other, the dumber we can get,” he notes. Groups that discourage independent thought potentially could put a damper on out-of-the-box ideas from brilliant individuals. They can also become herds that buy or dump stocks on momentum alone. For that matter, they can devolve into lynch mobs and terrorist groups.”
“To contend with this rising people power, corporations will have to craft new roles for themselves and learn new ways to operate in order to stay relevant.”
“Ultimately, all this could point the way to a fundamental change in the way people work together….That rich reward may be worth all the disruption we’ve seen and all the more still to come.”